Saturday, October 07, 2006

I’m a bleeding heart

Normally I try to be completely emotionally detached from my job. Not like sociopathic but just compartmentalized. I can’t cry for every caller because then I’d be always in tears.

Yet some folks have rough lives. While I’ll agree with other police/medic dispatcher blogs that most callers would not exactly qualify as Jeopardy returning champions, people don’t always get into bad situations due to their own bad decisions.

I’ll type it again so all the young Republicans can understand me:
Someone who has a sucky life is not always the victim of their bad decisions.

Or to put a finer point on it: if every bad decision YOU ever made came back to bite you, I guarantee you a sucky life.

But back to my pathetic caller of the day. I felt bad for this guy.

He called me from the business line of a video store to report he’d been robbed. He sounded perhaps a little developmentally disabled or mentally ill. And he wasn’t a victim of robbery, he was a victim of theft. He’d been a passenger in a van of a friend. This friend stopped to give a ride to another acquaintance (using the term loosely). The acquaintance saw that our complainant’s cell phone and some cash had fallen from his pocket. The acquaintance grabbed the money and the cell phone and bailed out of the van, running off into the lower-class neighborhood approximately $25 and a cell phone richer.

Unfortunately, the victim is homeless. I don’t know why this plucked at my heartstrings because he didn’t give me a big sob story about it or anything, but this is going to have a huge impact on his lifestyle.

Imagine it: $25 and my cellphone isn’t going to do anything but piss me off. I’m lucky. I got a lot of breaks in my life and when I screwed up it didn’t prevent me from moving forward in society. $25 and a cellphone isn’t going to impact me at all.

This guy. I suspect it’s going to temporarily cripple him. He’s lost his only method of communication. I don’t know whether he’s “riding the couch circuit” kind of homeless or “living in the woods with winter approaching” homeless but either way $25 buys a lot of crappy food or ice beer or whatever this guy subsists on.

I don’t know. It wouldn’t be any more “right” if the bad guy had taken money from Bill Gates.

But as I’m reminded lately, life is a continuum. One persons inconvenience is another persons major malfunction.

And as to the suspect: fucker. People are no damn good.

Happy Holidays!


PJ said...

I know Eric. I had one of those a while back, where a guy was living in a camper at a very remote county campground. He had just lost his wife of 35 years after a long and costly illness, and was on anti-depressants. He couldn't get the doctor(some rich fuck who lives on a nearby resort island) to renew his prescription without a visit to his sumptuous office. The caller was in his fifties (around my age) and was struggling to go it on his own without welfare intervening and was reaching out for help. We sent an ambulance and due to HIPPA regs I couldn't find out anything that happened after his call. After the call I went outside, smoked about four cigarettes and cried. I'm a bleeding heart too, most of the time.

jafabrit said...

I had my paycheck stolen when I was a young woman and it set me back months. I can understand.

Bleeding heart! better than having a stone heart or one of those hearts that beats with ignorance or self righteousness.

Jas said...

This is a good life lesson. We take far too many of our everyday conveniences for granted.

It is unfortunate that this tiny small "nice to have" item in our lives could very likely prevent your victim from getting that phone call on a job he was waiting for. The ripple effect just keeps growing from there.

I hope that karma finds the thief.